In response to the Great Commission, Compassion International exists as an advocate for children, to release them from their spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty and enable them to become responsible and fulfilled Christian adult
“In response to the Great Commission…”
“In response to the Great Commission” makes it abundantly clear that we are not only a social ministry but also a ministry committed to evangelism and discipleship.
The name Compassion communicates that we are a “love thy neighbor” ministry. We look after the health, education and welfare of impoverished children. This aspect of Compassion puts us in the context of “Great Commandment” ministries. We love God and we demonstrate that love by extending care for others.
However, the opening phrase of our mission statement makes it clear that we are also a “Great Commission” ministry, that we are engaged in the proclamation of the Gospel and also align ourselves with Christian mission organizations.
The strength of our commitment to Christian holism, to the demonstration and the proclamation of the Gospel, makes us unique among major child sponsorship organizations.
“Compassion exists as an advocate for children” positions us as child advocates in our overall ethos.
An advocate is one who speaks up for and defends the rights of another.
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” – Proverbs 31:8-9 (NIV)
Being advocates describes both who we are and what we do. Defending the rights of children in poverty is a passion that burns deeply within us and compels us to action. Being advocates for children in poverty gives our mission clear focus.
We care about all children. We care about all poor people. But it is the combination of these two groups that creates extreme vulnerability. Children in poverty are the singular focus of our ministry. Everything that is done at Compassion can be seen as a form of child advocacy.
When a Compassion staff person or volunteer communicates the needs of children in poverty, that person is being a child advocate. When a frontline child development worker intervenes for a child being neglected or abused, he or she is being a child advocate.
And every sponsor writing a letter of hope and encouragement to a sponsored child is being a child advocate.
“…to release them…”
“To release them” makes it clear that we have an end in mind, a desired outcome for the children in our programs.
Yes, we believe there is eternal value in every act of love and compassion. But true love means that we want to help a person to overcome.
Jesus came to “release the captives,” not just to make them temporarily feel better. We seek transformation in the lives of the children in our programs so that they are truly released from poverty.
“…from their spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty…”
“From their spiritual, economic, social and phyiscial poverty” highlights that poverty is a complex problem and requires a comprehensive solution.
Poverty is not just a matter of economics. Yes, when the Bible talks about the poor it overwhelmingly means those who are economically disadvantaged. However, it is a problem that requires a holistic solution, far beyond money alone.
People are whole beings and the condition of economic poverty is generally accompanied by significant levels of physical, social and spiritual poverty. Children are particularly vulnerable to the physical threats of poverty including malnutrition, disease and abuse.
Children in poverty are also particularly vulnerable to the emotional and spiritual messages of poverty that tell them they are worthless, of no value in the sight of others or even God.
Poverty tells children that they will never amount to anything and that they have no hope for a better future. We counter those messages with the truth of God’s Word, which teaches that every child in poverty is of infinite value and that they do indeed have a future and a hope.
“…enable them to become responsible and fulfilled Christian adults.”
Embedded in our mission statement is a bold claim for long-term impact. This usually cannot be measured until many years after our programmatic interventions are completed. And yet, it is important that everyone involved in our mission understands what we are working toward.
Our desire for children in poverty to become responsible and fulfilled Christian adults is not much different from the desire that all Christian parents have for their own children.
But in the same way that the best resourced parents can’t guarantee their own children will develop into responsible and fulfilled Christian adults, we cannot guarantee that the children in our programs will achieve this goal.
The caring adults that Compassion places in the lives of children in poverty are like farmers carefully planting, watering and nurturing. We enable children by creating an environment in which they are much more likely to grow and flourish into their full God-given potential.
Our mission is summarized well by our tagline:
“Releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name.”
We are advocates for children in poverty. We see them as whole beings with bodies, minds, souls and spirits. We see them as unique and precious in God’s sight. We give them an opportunity to learn about Jesus.
We understand that they need to be known, loved and protected so they can learn and grow and thrive and become all that God intends for them to be.